As one of the original settlers of the sparsely populated territory situated between the deranged and warring states of Antitrumplandia and Philotrumplandia, I'm breathing easier today.
Anyone who longs for peace and an end to the big-power nuclear threat can only welcome what Trump and Kim did in Singapore this week. It's just the beginning, of course, and things could go south at any time, but – and this shouldn't have to be said – it's preferable to other available alternatives. Trump's earlier threats were insanely reckless and risky, and I stand by that judgment. One cannot point to Tuesday as proof that Trump's initial stance was reasonable. No person with a gram of historical knowledge – not to mention moral decency – can think that peacemaking required a threat to visit "fire and fury" on an entire society. In fact, Trump's threat did not get Kim to the table; on the contrary, Kim's nuclear tests and South Korean President Moon got Trump to the table.
I can't be sure why Trump turned around and did what he did. Maybe he thought it through carefully and concluded what many had: an agreement that includes a cessation of the provocative U.S. rehearsals of aggressive war and "security guarantees" (a peace treaty and nonaggression pledge?) was the only way to avoid an unimaginable calamity. Or maybe he just figured this is his best shot at a Nobel Peace Prize. Who cares? Peace is the priority. If Trump's legendary ego can be harnessed in its service, I say let's do it.
I'll up the ante. On the day they award Trump (and Kim and Moon) the Nobel Prize, they should take Obama's away. He could have done what Trump did, but he wouldn't.
The so-called progressives who badmouthed Trump in the months before the summit and who must not have consulted the hopeful South Koreans should be ashamed of themselves. (Bernie Sanders is an honorable exception.) Is their unending tantrum over having lost to Trump really more important than peace? Can you imagine what they would have been saying if Obama had met with Kim (or for that matter, what the Republicans would have been saying)? State-based politics is a cesspool. (Obama and his predecessors could have had a deal with Kim or his father or grandfather, but every step forward was wrecked by hardliners on the US side.)
Even with this broad, first-step agreement, the inhabitants of Antitrumplandia can't shut up. The Washington Post says there were losers from the summit. Who lost? The victims of North Korean human-rights abuses, the Post says – as though they would benefit from war or continued, increasingly unstable cold war. Their best chance is normalization of relations between Kim and the West. Isolation does them no good.